Off The Wall
Audio CD | Extra Tracks, Reissued, Remastered
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Off the Wall
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Genre: Popular Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 16-OCT-2001
Given the pace of Michael Jackson's post-Thriller release schedule, it's striking that Off the Wall appeared between two albums with his brothers, Destiny (1978) and Triumph (1980), on which the twentysomething phenomenon was also fully engaged. Aided by richly detailed but not overdone production, Off the Wall redefined how much Michael might do.
Tracks like "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Rock with You," the title cut (all Top 10 singles), and "Burn this Disco Out" not only consolidated his dance-floor power, but showed just how soulful and varied his vocals could get on uptempo material. Artistic role models like James Brown and Jackie Wilson echo through the mixes, but these were Jackson's leaps forward. The addition of pure pop confection--Paul McCartney's "Girlfriend," Stevie Wonder's "I Can't Help It"--further fleshed out the star's young-adult persona and helped make Off the Wall among the most fondly remembered of all his solo work. This special edition features two magic home demos and entertaining, insightful interviews of producer Quincy Jones and "Rock with You" composer Rod Temperton. --Rickey Wright
Top Customer Reviews
Don't Stop Til You Get Enough is largely MJ's production. Though polished by Jones with the addition of highly-talented musicians including trumpet and sax, the demo (included in this package) reveals that not only could MJ write and sing a hit, he could also arrange a hit to fit lead and backing vocals around complex instrumentation. A highly danceable, explosive, fast-paced album opener that remains ageless and still sends 'em to the dance floor each time.
Rock With You is a sexy, persuasive, groovy mid-tempo R&B delight written by Rod Temperton of Heatwave. Accented by synth, strings, horns, and light-hearted flute. Received massive radio play upon release.
Written by MJ, Workin' Day and Night is a fast-paced funk lament of too much work, too little time to play. MJ's suspenseful beat-box creates a breathless sense of excitement and anticipation for the dance (if the listener can keep pace with the beat, that is). Featuring gulps, gasps, whoops and hollers, this favorite for MJ's live shows foreshadows the kinetic, frenetic energy of THRILLER'S Wanna Be Startin' Somethin. Once again, the demo (included) reveals MJ's intelligent grasp of songwriting and musical arrangement.
On this particular disc, On the Floor's arrangement sounds as if it has increased in speed to its detriment. Irritating for those who prefer the original effort at a slightly slower pace. The song co-written by MJ reveals an eager love of dance and club nightlife that reflects MJ's first burst of freedom from close Jackson family oversight.
Off the Wall is Temperton's highlight that fits in seamlessly with other hits written by MJ. Music arrangement starts slightly sinister and creepy then morphs into a joyous celebration of party people, crazy living, and freedom from the drudgeries of life.
Girlfriend is just embarrasing. A mid-tempo silly love song written by Paul McCartney, this effort serves as an early warning klaxon to avoid The Girl is Mine duet on THRILLER, although Say, Say, Say (Jackson's duet on McCartney's album) isn't so bad.
She's Out of My Life, written by Tom Bahler, was famously mocked by Eddie Murphy, but serves to reveal a self-reflective MJ mourning a lost relationship. Quiet, slow-paced, subdued music arrangement features bass and lead guitar smoothed out with electric piano. An excellent showcase for MJ's clear, pure, pitch-perfect vocal control. Until the crying starts.
Stevie Wonder came through for his protege, MJ, with I Can't Help It, for which he arranged percussion and wrote lyrics. A lovely song guided by synth with horn and wind contributions, MJ scats breathlessly through a declaration of the inevitability of love described as "angel in disguise" and a "trip to heaven."
It's the Falling in Love is a hidden surprise written by Carole Bayer Sager that remains under the radar even today. The lead and background chemistry of Patti Austin and MJ send their description of romantic vulnerability high into the stratosphere.
Burn This Disco Out is a high-volume, startling funk groove written by Temperton with a confident MJ strutting behind the beat, absolutely determined to get every single person in the room and the world onto the dance floor, even if he has to burn the entire disco out to do it.
The crystal clear, clean sound of the digitzed version may throw off listeners first introduced to OFF THE WALL via staticky record players with white background noise.
BONUS TRACKS: Unheard by most until now, the Don't Stop Til You Get Enough demo was actually provided to Quincy Jones as a nearly complete song with lyrics, percussions, drum, bass guitar and string intentions already in place. Truly hilarious is the opportunity to eavesdrop on younger siblings Janet and Randy squabbling about sound level while older brother MJ overrides them both to count down the music to Workin' Day and Night. Again, the song is nearly intact with lead and backing vocals, percussion, and bass. Janet and Randy apparently continue their squabble at the end of the demo. Interviews with Jones included.
“Off the Wall” peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold millions of copies; it has subsequently been certified for sales of 8 million in the United States. Notably, the record also become only the second in chart history to yield four top 10 singles (“Rumours” was the first), making Michael the first solo artist to accomplish this feat. Those singles stand up so well today. The first was the #1 hit, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” which helped bridge the gap between the late-70s disco purge and the flourishing of dance music in the early-80s. “Rock with You” also went to #1 and to my ears is one of Michael’s all-time best. This sunny dance song sounds just as fresh today. The final two singles both peaked at #10 – “Off the Wall” and “She’s out of My Life.”
Of course, the four hit singles are terrific, but the overall record is outstanding. I love the innocent, fun feel that the entire CD provides. The production obviously has a very 80s feel to it, but everything is so well done that the CD has aged beautifully. Although many people have viewed “Off the Wall” as a mere warm-up for the spectacular “Thriller,” the record definitely stands on its own as a pop dance classic.
1. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
2. Rock With You
3. Workin' Day And Night
4. Get On The Floor
5. Off The Wall
7. She's Out Of My Life
8. I Can't Help It
9. It's The Falling In Love
10. Burn This Disco Out
11. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (Michael Jackson's original demo recording)
12. Working' Day And Night (Michael Jackson's original demo recording)
13. Interview with Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton
This CD is a great addition to any Michael Jackson music collection!
What I love about this album is the freedom and depth of sincerity I sense in Michael's performances, here. This was before the nose jobs, the media drama and the false molestation accusations. This was back when MJ was considered a young and dynamic heartthrob. Off The Wall was prior to Thriller and the rocket that would launch his career in the Moonwalk and the 25th Anniversary MoTown Special.
Some of the songs that best embody this brilliant album (with high production standards set by the legendary Quincy Jones) are "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Off The Wall," "Burn This Disco" and "Girlfriend," just to name a few. You feel as though you have set foot on the floor of a disco where it's all party, all the time. Whenever I put this record on, I know I am going to feel happy to be alive. It is full of a spirit of spontaneity and high professionalism. The tunes are memorable, as are the lyrics. Just great and unbeatable.
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Michael Jackson was certainly a phenomenon, on and off stage.Read more